The government is suggesting that people stay at home if they feel unwell.
The advice comes after the number of those with respiratory illnesses attending A&E is the highest seen in the last five years.
This rise was highlighted in the government’s weekly surveillance report which covers seasonal respiratory illnesses. It showed a 57% increase on the peak in 2019.
The number of respiratory illness patients attending A&E has also risen by 3% since the last report in December and has impacted the age groups 15 to 44 and over 65 in particular.
Data for the respiratory report covers Covid-19, influenza types A and B, and respiratory syncytial virus. The rate in the latest week however ‘should be interpreted with caution due to effect of the holiday period’, the report says.
Meanwhile, the government is asking people to stay home if they’re unwell.
In a statement, a spokesman said: ‘We’re asking people to help us stop the spread of winter illnesses. Please stay at home if you’re unwell. If you have symptoms like a cough, fever or sneezing, and you must go out, please wear a face covering.’
This comes after Manx Care asked people to ‘choose well’ when deciding where to go to seek healthcare support due to extreme pressures being experienced at Noble’s Hospital.
Staff shortages have also been exacerbating the issue as the organisation has made pleas for nurses to take up last-minute work.
Uptake for influenza (a contagious respiratory illness which causes flu) vaccines in December 2022 was low in over 50s and two- to three-year-olds and was generally lower than uptake in the UK.
Around 63% of 65-year-olds and over had the vaccine, while just under 35% of 50- to 64-year-olds who are not in a clinical risk group chose to get a vaccination. The report also details the number of deaths where respiratory illness is classed as the underlying cause of death.
Over the last four years, respiratory deaths have been above the baseline average.
Deaths from respiratory illness accounted for 12% of total deaths in 2021 and 9% in 2022 for the period to August.
In comparison, respiratory infections mentioned anywhere on the death certificate were 19% in 2021 and 20% in 2022.
Uptake of the Covid autumn booster vaccine in England was 63.8% at the end of 2022 for all people aged over 50.
Using the Isle of Man Census data for those over 50 years old, the local rate is 60%.
The likelihood of serious illness from Covid depends on the level of natural or vaccination induced immunity, age, and the presence of certain underlying conditions. Older age is the strongest contributing factor.
Immunity derived from vaccination declines over time, the government says.
The objective for the autumn 2022 booster programme was to enhance immunity in those at higher risk from Covid and optimise protection against severe Covid, specifically hospitalisation and death, over winter 2022 to 2023.
The next report is expected on Friday, January 13.
This will include data from the out of hours (MEDS) service in Manx Care.
Covid vaccination walk-in sessions have been available through the winter and in the new year at the Chester Street hub for autumn boosters.
First boosters have also been available for over 18s.
The next walk-in session will take place at the hub today (Tuesday) from 10am until 2.30pm.
This will be followed by walk-ins on January 12 from 10am until 4.30pm, January 17 from 10am until 2.30pm, and January 19 from 10am until 4.30pm.
Those eligible for this vaccine are those over 50, pregnant, at high risk due to a health condition, immunosuppressed, a frontline health and social care worker, a carer, or over 18 requiring a booster dose.
More information can be found on the government’s Covid-19 website.